DURBAN – There has been major concerns about suppliers inflating prices as government, retailers and private health care companies embark on emergency procurement of products related to curbing and managing the spread of Covid-19
The National Consumer Commission (NCC) which is the primary regulator of consumer-business interaction in South Africa, said on Friday it “has noted several complaints from the public about rising prices for essential products, in particular some food, health care and hygiene products”.
This comes after the trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel gazetted regulations in terms of the Competition Act and Disaster Management Act that aim to strengthen the ability of the commission to respond to incidences of exploitative pricing.
“All the retailers are supportive of the government and regulators’ efforts to protect consumers at this critical time. We have agreed that in the event of any unusual increases of prices by suppliers, the retailers will bring these to the attention of the regulators,” said the commission.
Government has also imposed regulations that will limit unjustified price hikes and product stockpiling, to protect consumers, as the number of Covid-19 pandemic cases rise to 150.
According to the regulations announced by the Minister on Thursday, prices may not exceed the increase in the cost of the raw material. Companies that engage in such acts face potential imprisonment for a period of up to 10 years.
The National Consumer Commission toll-free hotline to report price spikes is 0800-014-880.
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